Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and People and Places)

04 January 2016


  1. Snapseed and Photo Studio
1. Reaching for the New Year; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Reaching for the New Year; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Snapseed and FX Photo Studio

2. Reaching for the New Year; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Reaching for the New Year; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Let me know which you prefer and why. Click onto the photograph to enlarge. If you decide to leave a comment, please return to this page.


Inherently, the introduction of a new year boasts many levels of possibilities. Reflection can be found pumping through the veins. At the same time in my part of the world color has receded; grey days seem to have been more than sun-filled.

Dormancy revives itself. Monochromatic vistas are more prevalent. The angle of the sun trickles light in winter’s shadow. The landscape has less uprising, less come and see me. Panoramas need to be re-created within these alterations.

During an early morning walk in a local park last week, there stood a grouping of trees that seemed to be reaching into the New Year with profound presence. They had a dignity that evoked standard bearers of the land and the sky. Immediately, they reminded me of urban skyscrapers that look upward and move through prisms of day and night.

In the Lens section is an image of two of those trees. It has been processed two ways. The original design of the two side-by-side trees evoked a heavenly reach—a reach that has inspiration textured in its façade. The duo uplifted my spirits.

I followed the tree trunks as their length increased.  At the top they easily had views that I wanted. I imagined their enthusiasm was still pulsing. They had me knowing that they are daily witnesses to Mother Nature ‘s sorcery.

Within the time span of the seeing and the interpretation, there was a stillness of thought. These champions of all that surrounds them (people, pond, recreational area, and acres of parkland) provided a sense of coherence. They fit easily into the direction of my photography where I hope to create an ongoing series of images that illustrate the intersection of people, places and nature. That confluence exists and is in constant flux across the land we inhabit.

This first post of the New Year accomplishes this mission. While future posts may not hit the mark, I will try.

As natural and urban skyscrapers witness connections about the world that swirls around them, my steppingstones also are people, places and nature. They are my steppingstones to tell their stories through images and words.

Tip of the Week:

Design and form are very much part of the space where nature meets the human condition and vice versus. I was curious if others used that connection between nature’s skyscrapers and architectural ones. What joy to find the following: “If Our Skyscrapers were Trees and our Cities were Forests.” The OAS1S Project has been developed to: “bring nature into cities in an innovative way and imagines that these woodlands can be built within cities and their surrounding areas.” Raimond de Hullu, who is a Dutch architect, has created a concept that astounds and has elements that are needed to reduce the human footprint. It’s a city woodland. Each home consists of a treehouse-like structure that has modern luxury, energy and water-efficiency, and is surrounded by greenery. To view this innovative concept, click here. I’m hopeful that there will be a prototype some day soon.



View other entries for this week’s challenge:


As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.

If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and People and Places)

  1. I like the graphic quality of the first image, but the second transports me to a dark place in the woods where I would expect to encounter the Wolf, the Witch or maybe just a troll bobbing about-love the intense blue!

  2. I also love the beautiful blue image, Sally. I agree with Tish about the book cover. 🙂

  3. Wonderfully composed image of these lovely old trees, Sally! Trees are one of my favorite subjects and black and white really brings out their powerful structure. I hope your New Year is off to a great start. 🙂

  4. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. What a great way to start the new year! I love that blue sky in the second image. It adds a touch of mystery and “other world-liness” to the shot that encourages reflection. Just lovely.

  5. Nato says:

    I like them both but for different reasons. The black and white has a sense of power and nobility about it. It shows the how powerful and grand the trees are. The blue version is mysterious and magical in a way. And at first glance, I thought the blue almost formed the shape of a heart. I have always been fond of trees too. They are so interesting to me. Such a great shot with powerful edits:)

  6. Su Leslie says:

    As always, both shots are powerful and lovely. I do prefer the second though; a little surreal and mysterious.

  7. I think the blue in the second pic adds an air of mystery. Love it!

  8. thirdeyemom says:

    Beautiful Sally. I love how you talk about the trees jetting up towards the sky to greet the new year. The photos are lovely. I prefer the striking black and white yet the one with color almost looks like there are spiderwebs between the branches. Very beautiful.

  9. lumar1298 says:

    I like them both. The black and white devoid of color is unique, but the blue color added to the picture also makes it interesting.

  10. Maria F. says:

    I like both Sally, I forgot to say that your landscapes are also really good, of course, they are minimalist too

  11. I must have read your mind yesterday walking in the Mission. I was impressed by city scape of palms and street trees. Love old cities with mature trees.

  12. Oh I really like the editing you did with the photograph, which was a good one to start with! The blue hue does characterise your wintry season well but not in the usual way. The blue hue you have used enough warmth and saturation to be also exciting and hints at the possibilities of the directions, (upward), for the New Year. I use Snapseed at times so this has given me some ideas for future projects. The architect’s vision is to be applauded and I hope the concept takes off. I guess maintenance of the green “walls” would create a whole new form of employment! Happy New Year Sally.

  13. Debbie H says:

    What a lovely post to start the year with! I like them both but the contrast of the blue and black is very striking. I’m posting a shot of a baby lizard who coexists quite happily with us in our rural environment.

  14. dsaquarelles says:

    I prefer the 2nd, the contrast blue and black is very beautiful !

  15. Archita says:

    I liked the first image. It’s so beautiful, Sally. Happy New Year!

  16. Amy says:

    I like the first one especially. Well done, Sally!

  17. My favourite has to be the second image. The blue hue adds a touch of mystery to it.

  18. Interesting and thoughtful, love the strong artistic touch in the second.

  19. Gorgeous silhouette of the trees.

  20. prior2001 says:

    Well I have not had the chance to read all comments – but the ones I skimmed tell me I am with some of the crowd by choosing the first b & w image. Love that there is more negative space to absorb – but that blue you chose for the second image was a powerful vibrant blue and had a mood all its own- and the whole post was truly a nice new year’s one – 💕

  21. I like the first one better. Easier to see. More contrast between the dark and light spaces.

  22. LavendarLadi says:

    I really like the first one but the second … wow!

  23. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Hi, Sally, thanks for getting us off to such a great start this year. Your first image is a wonderful, graphic design and the second one really strikes a chord in me during these long winter days of darkness. The architect’s idea is interesting, but I must admit that as a former resident of Florida I look at the vines covering the walls and think, “bugs”.

    Have a wonderful challenge this week,

    • Allan, oh my, of course, they’ve been creating vertical walls inside of homes for years. Yes, you have a point, Still, these green skyscrapers are outside where nature can thrive, and hopefully keep in balance. I appreciate your response to my work. See you soon. Thanks so much.

  24. sued51 says:

    I really like the black and white one.

  25. Tish Farrell says:

    I like the stark contrast of the first image best, Sally, though I could see the second one on the book cover of some deep-dark and mysterious tale. I love the idea of forests in cities. I’m off to follow the link. Happy New Year!

    • Tish, let me know what you think about the concept. It is delicious to me–certainly one way to change the world into a more sustainable place to inhabit. See you soon. Thanks so much for your response to my photographs.

      • Tish Farrell says:

        I’ve been for a quick visit, and the concept looks fantastic. It’s jogging my memory that someone tried something very like this on their central Paris house, and it looked wonderful. I do wonder though about long-term management. I’m thinking green roofs that have not been properly cared for which can look pretty grim. But in any event, bringing more trees and plants into any city has to be the best for everyone, however it’s done.

      • Indeed, I absolutely agree. See you soon.

    • Tish practically stole my exact words: “stark contrast” for the first one and “mysterious” for the second. Ahh, well, I still enjoyed them both. I’m off to check the link as well. Happy Monday.


  26. Love the graphic black and white photo! It could even be enlarged and printed and framed. It would look great anywhere!

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